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Keratosis pilaris

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Hello all. I would like to talk about keratosis pilaris today. It is a skin condition that affects 40% of the world’s adult population (including me).

So what is keratosis pilaris?

It is a skin condition, also called chicken skin. The symptoms are rough bumps on the skin, that are raised and sometimes red. They usually appear on the upper arms and the thighs, although they can appear anywhere, where hair grows. The bumps can be mild, in which case they are hardly noticeable. Or they can be more pronounced, in which case it looks like goosebumps. The bumps are actually keratin, and they form within the hair follicle.

I have keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, and I have had these bumps since I was a child. In fact, I cannot actually remember ever having smooth, bump free upper arms. My bumps are worse in the winter, I think because the air is dryer, and my arms are always under layers of clothing.

For me, I am sometimes embarrassed to wear short sleeved tops (I hardly ever wear sleevless tops).  I also have scars and pigmentation from where I used to pick the bumps (grim I know). Within the rough bumps, there is sometimes a hair follicle trapped, and when picked the white hard keratin can be removed. However for me the scarring looks worse than the bumps.

So what can be done?

Many resources suggest using a moisturising, exfoliating cream on your skin. Examples include

  • chemical exfoliant e.g. lactic acid, to smooth the bumps
  • moisturising cream with urea to hydrate
  • manual exfoliation e.g. scrubs
  • retin A
  • sunlight

I have in the past used heavy mositurising creams but they always left my arms with that sticky feeling (think Eucerin Urea creams). Though the bumps on my arm did lessen, I did not like the heavy sticky feeling it left.

For the past 3 months, I have been using the following regime. I use vitamin C serum every evening to chemically exfoliate. I also manually exfoliate in the shower with a microfibre cloth about 3 times a week. After all that I smooth on my AHA cream. I am also thinking about using yoghurt as a mask every so often.

The AHA cream that I use is by Palmers (picture and ingredients list below). It is a really nice light cream, and it works well. However the smell is not the most pleasant, but it works and it is non greasy, and that is all I care about! It costs around £4 a bottle.

(click on the picture to see a larger picture of the ingredients)

 My arms today look the best that they have for years, and I think I am no longer so embarrassed to wear short sleeved T shirts 🙂

I am so happy but I still have far to go. I would like to document my progress on this blog. Below is a picture of how my arms look today.


I would love to hear of the methods that you use, in keeping the keratosis pilaris under control. Please feel free to leave a comment 🙂



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